For years I swore I’d never get a dog- even though my children begged for one. Even though my husband wanted one, even though all my friends had one. I had decided they were not for me!
However, something very strange has come over me. I have fallen in love- with a puppy! For most people, that might seem like no big deal- everyone falls in love with puppies, right? Well, not me. I’ve seen plenty of puppies- and never has one tugged at my heartstrings like this little sweetie!
Something inside me changed when I first saw this puppy, I couldn’t get her out of my mind. After careful deliberation, my husband and I decided to go for it- so now I’m happy to say I am the proud owner of the sweetest little dog ever. Her name is Sadie, and I am smitten. She is smart, cuddly, playful, compassionate- and a part of our family!
You’re probably wondering what in the world does this have to do with seniors? Not much- except that having this puppy has brought me so much joy- that it’s made me think about how a dog can bring joy and enrichment to a senior’s life as well.
I’m not suggesting going out and buying a puppy (they are too much work for a senior to have to train), but a sweet, good natured dog that can be a friend/companion to a senior might just be what they need.
I know lots of senior living communities have house pets, or allow residents to bring their own pets to live with them, and I think this is a great idea, it gives the seniors the opportunity to experience the joy a dog can bring.
I’ve also heard of therapy dogs– who assist with patients on hospice. According to Therapy Dogs International, “Therapy dogs help combat loneliness and they give people the chance to have something to look forward to. Exposure to our dogs allows the patient to feel needed and wanted at a time in their life when death is evident.”
What a wonderful idea!
For those of you who are local to the Seattle area, Providence Senior and Community services has their own therapy dog! If you’d like to learn more, please check out this website